NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new website and app now under development will allow users to rent rooms in a fashion similar to Airbnb, but only to attractive people.
“LoveRoom is a platform where people can rent their living space to other people under one condition: they need to be attractive,” the front page for the yet-to-launch website says. “It’s like Airbnb for Dating ;).”
LoveRoom is set to launch in beta later this week, according to published reports. It allows users to search by age, location, gender and sexual orientation like the typical dating website, and then to rent rooms from the matches they find, the New York Post reported.
The site will use Facebook and SMS to verify the identities of would-be renters, and only those who identify as single on Facebook may sign up, according to published reports.
The homepage for the site launched last week and has since received more than 800 sign ups – including many from New Yorkers, the newspaper reported. The site is set to launch in beta later this week.
Founder Joshua Bocanegra of Los Angeles told Beta Beat the idea for the site stemmed from his own days trying to rent his room out on Airbnb.
He told the publication he used his girlfriend’s photo rather than his own for his profile on that site so that people might have an “extra” reason to rent from them. But once renters booked with Bocanegra, his girlfriend would tell the renters “her boyfriend will assist them with their stay,” he told the publication.
The idea behind LoveRoom is to give single people who travel “a place to stay where they might find love – or sex,” Bocanegra told Beta Beat.
Multiple sources in published reports have questioned the idea behind LoveRoom. Speaking to the Post, tech journalist Seth Porges said he was not convinced that the site was anything beyond an “attention-getting digital art project,” but if it is real, the possibility of creepy hosts will likely cause problems.
In the Beta Beat article, write Molly Mulshine remarked: “Clearly, some murky situations could arise from sex-appeal-based living arrangements, however temporary. LoveRoom’s founders had better have some bulletproof legal counsel.”
LoveRoom has also received some criticism on Twitter.
Here lies Human Dignity, 250,000 BC – Airbnb For Hot People http://t.co/Qc4vSFzlHm
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) October 29, 2013
@heyfeifer GROSS. Also, countdown to the “I went undercover on Loveroom” articles.
— Rebecca Schinsky (@RebeccaSchinsky) October 28, 2013
Some Twitter users even compared LoveRoom to “prostitution.”
But in an article in Medium.com, founder Bocanegra said his goal was not to create an app that was all about sex.
“The goal for the experiment was to see how many people would use a service like Airbnb but only for attractive people. I thought it would be interesting if single people were able get to know each other by sharing a room,” he wrote. “In other words, instead of buying flowers, going out to eat and going to the movies — all in hopes for that ‘one night stand’ or the ‘goodnight kiss’ — what if we started in the room?”
Bocanegra also emphasized that renting to “attractive” people means users can choose to rent only to people they personally find attractive, not that the site will set up an arbitrary definition of attractiveness and use it to exclude people.
“We figured if we gave you a platform to rent a room to or from someone who is single, you’re probably going to choose someone who is attractive — hence, rent your room to attractive people,” he wrote. “We will never decide who we think is attractive to you based on our own personal preference, that’s just silly.”
He wrote that the goal of LoveRoom is “bigger than sex.”
“It’s about connecting in a new way. It may be an uncomfortable concept for some and an awesome service for others, but we believe if enough people use it, there’s potential for a surprisingly positive impact in the world of dating and traveling,” Bocanegra wrote.
What if we can redefine “one night stands” and make it about something timeless. Lets make it about finding love.
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